This year will be an important one for every small business as powerful trends shape the direction of the economy. Here are the shifts that companies can expect:
Less Employees, More Freelancers
The nature of work has profoundly changed. Small businesses now are easily able to match new revenue to needs in increased resources. This means less permanent employees and more part time resources. This is a beneficial small business trend that enables the small business owner to make their workforce a variable expense as their sales goes up and down.
Less Office Employees, More Remote Resources
While it can be comforting for small business owners to look out from their office and see their team, this version of the company is a thing of the past. Instead, all managers need to get comfortable with leading and building a team culture with remote resources that they do not see every day.
Less Email, More in Person Meetings (or at Least Video Chat)
People have opted for email instead of phone calls. But the small business trend this year will be to have more in person meetings with employees, vendors and customers as everyone wants to make true connections that build lasting relationships.
Less Apps, More Dashboards
Apple and Android apps have become ubiquitous. According to a recent Intermedia study, 14.3 is the average number of apps per small business and it’s hurting employee productivity. Companies will begin to use more dashboards to integrate these apps to track the key metrics of their business. These include tools like iDashboards.
Less “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), More Company Issued Phones
In recent years, small businesses have saved money by having employees conveniently use their own smart phone device for business. This has resulted in many security issues. The new small business trend is for companies to spend the extra money to issue business only devices. They are then able to load only approved applications and keep tight security on those smartphones.
Less Data, More Analysis
Small business owners are flooded with disparate data that they don’t understand. The new small business trend is moving away from just data to more analysis of what it all means. Key tools include Power BI from Microsoft, Qlik and Tableau. These applications can integrate much of the company information into something that can be used by management.
Less Features, More Relationships
With the spread of information almost instantaneously worldwide, there are less differences in product features. The customer can always choose the lowest price. The focus in the future will be to continue to service the customer to build value in a personal long term relationship that ensures loyalty. This includes less mass marketing and more one-on-one personalization through technology.
Less Secrecy, More Transparency
With social media instantly communicating and every phone having a camera, nothing in business is a secret any longer. This will force every small business to be much more transparent in dealings with customers, employees and product developments. This will also boost more social responsibility for these companies.
Less Organic Social Posts, More Boosted Advertising
With the sheer glut of millions of posts every day clogging feeds, small business owners will be forced to boost their message through social media paid advertising on all the major platforms in order to be seen by their customers.
Less Bank Loans, More Peer to Peer Lending
Even though bank loans will continue to grow from the depths of the Great Recession, small businesses will now get more of their capital from sites like Fundera that will help choose the best alternate source.
What small business trends do you see in the coming year?
Republished by permission. Original here.
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